Organization, Leadership & Staff

Photo of MaryAnn HigginsMary Ann Higgins is the Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Region I, Boston, Massachusetts, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Region I includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Ms. Higgins provides leadership, direction, and coordination to States, Tribes, local governments, and non-profit agencies that administer ACF programs. ACF programs include the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, Child Care, Child Support Enforcement, Head Start, Early Head Start, Foster Care, Child Welfare, Adoption Assistance, Developmental Disabilities, and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program.

Previously, Higgins was the Regional Administrator for ACF in Region II from 1994-2008 and the Director of the JOBS Program for ACF from its inception until 1994. The JOBS program was the predecessor to the current TANF program.  Her responsibilities included implementation of three new child care programs-JOBS child care, transitional child care and at-risk child care-that were subsequently incorporated into the Child Care Development Fund. For this work she received both the Secretary's Award for Exceptional Achievement and the Assistant Secretary's Leadership Award.

Before joining HHS, she was a VISTA volunteer providing legal services to the Hispanic community in the Boston area.

Higgins is a graduate of Boston College Law School and has a BA from the University of Massachusetts in Sociology.

The Region 1 office is located in Boston and is headed by Regional Administrator Mary Ann Higgins, who reports to the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families through the Director of the Office of Regional Operations (ORO).
The Office of the Regional Administrator (ORA):

  • Coordinates issues that may have significant regional or national impact
  • Contributes to the development of ACF national policy based on knowledge of the region
  • Serves as the lead point of contact representing the Assistant Secretary for key state officials and stakeholders in the region

In conjunction with ACF Central Office and regional program managers, the ORA also:

  • Works in partnership with the ACF Central Office Program Directors and the Regional Program Managers who are responsible for:
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
    • Child welfare
    • Child support enforcement
    • Child care
    • Head Start/Early Head Start
  • Develops plans to meet ACF goals and objectives

In addition, the ORA participates in regional activities to inform the public about ACF programs in coordination with the ACF Office of Public Affairs and the DHHS Regional Director.